All the effort you place into building a website, amassing a social following, and building a brand are moot if you never have a proper product to pitch to your community.

When you began this whole affiliate marketing thing (or if you’re starting) the choices are quite limitless because you have a wide selection of markets and niches along with tons of products available for promoting. Understand which of these products are worthy becomes the problem.

You may have put together all the necessities of an online presence and then picked a few that looked interesting from within an affiliate marketplace or program. Months roll by and you’ve yet to receive much of a profit because people simply don’t want what the offer.

This may be a point where you give up in frustration but pump the breaks because this can be easily fixed if you switch up how you go about picking products.

You’ll read about a multitude of reasons why certain affiliate pick their products but let’s just cut to the chase and look at the main three criteria that should get you up and running, earning commissions, like you had expected when you started…

1. Leverage the competition

I once heard a quote somewhere along the lines of “the path to success is paved with those that didn’t understand the market”. The idea is that many people try to innovate and lead with a new product rather than taking the appropriate amount of time to research the market. Then others come along and can use those failures as a way to avoid troubles and reach success.

Think of all those phones that were available that eventually got wiped out with the introduction of the iPhone – it was strategic laggardness (along with some innovation) that allowed Apple to see the faults of the competition and reach their meteoric success.

Here’s what needs to be done:

  • Examine what products the competition promotes because if they are showing a profit then it means they are doing something right (and this means the correct choice in offer).
  • Examine how the competition promotes the offers through means like content, advertising, social, and others so that you may leverage their strategies, form them into your own, and one-up them in their own game.

The combination of these two should get you off to a good start because it dramatically decreases the amount of time and money needed to research the market since the competition has already done it for you.

2. Look at the support and back-end

Do you:

A. Want to promote a product that is all hype and quickly dissipates after a few short weeks?

B. Want to promote a product that has actual value, service, and legacy that will be a great seller for many years to come?

You already know the answer.

Affiliate marketing isn’t just about the hype of the launch and trying to ride those waves each and every time there is a new, big product hitting the market. You should base your criteria on the reputation of those releasing the products.


  • Don’t want to promote products that are a flash in the pan
  • Don’t want to promote products that come across as shady
  • Don’t want to promote products that aren’t updated or provide customer service
  • Don’t want to promote products that has no kind of support

What you want to look for are the products that really define the niche and are front-runners in the marketplace. These are the offers that people trust because they have real value and longevity.

No one wants to make an investment in an offer that goes belly up after a week.

Do your research about the people/business making the products. See how they respond to criticism, feedback, and customer requests. Purchase the product and get a feel for what they do to keep people as paying customers. Then you will know you’ve found a winner.

3. You should talk with your manager(s)

When you join an affiliate network or program you will generally be assigned a manager. They are there to answer your questions and help with selecting appropriate products to promote on your sites so take advantage of their service!

Ask them important questions like:

  • What are some of the hot offers on the network/program?
  • What are some of the best ways to promote said offer?
  • What would you recommend?
  • What are other affiliates promoting?

They have the data and often times all you need to do is ask if they can disclose some of it so that you may make the correct decisions in offers. Remember that they are there because they want to earn a profit for their business so they are willing to help you so it becomes a win/win scenario.


Affiliate marketing is a whole lot of trial and error but if you work these criteria into your offer selection process you should come out on top. You won’t have to worry so much as to whether you’ve chosen the wrong product because you’ll be armed with enough information to start with the best.

So, what are YOUR criteria for selecting affiliate products?